By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Crops are off to a good start
Placeholder Image
MONROE - Green County farmers have fared better in spring planting than other farmers in the Midwest and even in northern Wisconsin, according to Mark Mayer, Green County University of Wisconsin Extension agriculture agent.

Mayer reported delays in planting caused by wet soil for farmers in Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa and even neighboring Wisconsin counties to the north. The USDA reported last week that Madison area precipitation is 8.4 inches above normal and the La Crosse area is 8.22 inches above.

"Fortunately, we've had less rain," Mayer said. Monroe is currently about 3.1 inches above normal precipitation levels for the year: As of Sunday, June 16, the area has received 18.5 inches of precipitation, compared to the normal 15.4 inches.

Seven of the nine crop districts in the state lag behind the southwest and southcentral districts in planting, emergence, crop height and haying, according to the USDA Crop Report issued Monday, June 10. Six of those have a much higher surplus of soil moisture than the southern tier of counties.

"Heavy clay soil (in northern Wisconsin) doesn't dry out. Fields may not get planted," Mayer said. "But I'll take this over last year.

"We're a little extra wet compared to last year," he added.

That's a significant comparison, considering the area's last spring rainfall in 2012 was three-quarters of an inch on May 26. Green County had less than one-half inch of rain last June and, by the end of the month, was more than 3.5 inches below the normal average of 4.25 inches - with a summer drought knocking at the door. On June 16, 2012, the area had registered only 7.64 inches of precipitation for the year.

Green County farmers are done planting corn for this year. If any corn is not in yet, Mayer suspects it's only for corn silage that farmers have delayed. About 85 to 90 percent most of the soybean crop is in.

Anything planted is "out of the ground," Mayer said.

Planting was delayed because of the spring rains, but when farmers did start planting, ground temperatures were warm. And, for the love of the spotty rainfalls, the corn is already about a foot or more out high.

"There's a potential for good yields, if the rain continues as it has" and especially around tasseling time, Mayer said.

Pastures are also in "really good shape," Mayer added, and farmers are spreading a little nitrogen fertilizer on them.